After trying and failing to find a tool that would make designing her own crochet patterns less fraught with error, author Sara Delaney built her own.
I learned to crochet when I was seven, but the craft didn’t really capture my interest until years later. When I decided I was ready to try my hand at designing crochet patterns, it was an arduous process with lots of trial and error (so many errors!). I designed hats and scarves for my children without really knowing what I was doing. Fancy yarns would call my name, and I’d try to make them work as something, anything. Sometimes, that fancy yarn and my crazy ideas worked amazingly well, but more often than not, I failed miserably. When I did get a yarn to work, I could never quite duplicate that success. I rarely wrote down what I’d done, and when I did, it was pretty cryptic stuff, not in any kind of standardized terms that anyone else would be able to read.
I realized that to get better at what I clearly loved doing, I’d better educate myself. While I had the help and encouragement of a great community of crafters and a good number of established designers, I couldn’t find a single book that helped me understand all the things one needs to know to create a successfully repeatable pattern. I looked for years for a resource that could help cut down on all the fiddly math that goes into each design, or that explained the most efficient way to approach the design process. (Turns out, the best way is not to make a thing and then try to reverse engineer a pattern from what you think you might have done, losing the ball band and any notes you might have taken during the making in the meantime.) In the end, I had to cobble together my own process and shortcuts.
One day, I sat down to work out the syllabus for a new class I was planning to teach. It was a next-step class for students who had been through my beginner and intermediate crochet classes. Now that they had a sound foundation, covering basic design seemed like a logical next step for them. As I began to dig through the processes I’d built for myself, sorting through and organizing those notebook pages and scraps of paper, I had a sudden realization. I might actually have built the very thing I’d always wished for! My students became my unwitting guinea pigs. If they could get it — if they could really design something of their own using my system — then I had stumbled onto something great.
Those first students added so much to the work that ultimately went into Design Your Own Crochet Projects. They asked questions that I had stopped asking myself but that were crucial to the success of the design process. It took those students, and more in the following years, to refine and expand that basic design calculator that I was building into something that was broadly useful. (Even knitters can use it! Don’t believe me? Swatch in your favorite knit stitch and plug your numbers into the online Crochet Calculator and just see if you can’t create a successful accessory from the numbers that result.)
None of this means that you have to aspire to be a world-renowned crochet designer (though yay, if you do!). But this book may be just the resource you need to finally make a hat that fits your partner and covers their ears just right, or to create a pair of mittens your child saw on their favorite anime character for which no one else has written a pattern. Or, it might inspire you to make the perfect pair of socks, just for you.
Whatever your motivation for picking up a copy of Design Your Own Crochet Projects, I hope it helps to make your creative process just a little smoother and easier. And I can’t wait to see what you create!